Babe Ruth All-Stars fall at Regionals to Kelso

Despite early lead, Bainbridge falters in sixth inning vs. South Washington’s Kelso.

The Bainbridge Babe Ruth All-Stars couldn’t hold off South Washington champion Kelso, falling 8-6 Friday at the Babe Ruth Pacific Northwest Regional Tournament at Propstra Park in Vancouver, Wash.

“They were like we were coming from behind with all those wins in the state tournament,” All Star coach Israel Gaphni said. “We kept telling the kids these guys can come back. It didn’t take much for them to come back, and when they had the bases loaded, they just started to hit the ball hard. They stuck with it.”

The All-Stars were up 5-0 by the second inning thanks to several errors by Kelso and two runs driven in by Steffen Daquisto and one by Casey Adkins.

Kelso reliever Evan Pickett came in to keep the damage from escalating, allowing just one more run by Bainbridge.

Kelso was able to score two runs, but Bainbridge’s Mackenzie Bond did his job by keeping their bats silent for the most part, stranding eight baserunners over five innings.

Up 6-2 going into the sixth, Bainbridge could see the finish line – until Brandon Walker reached on an error, giving Kelso the break they needed.

Kelly Rice, Spencer Downs and Robby Sanders followed with consecutive singles; Sanders hit a fly ball to shallow left field on which shortstop Ian Powell made a great diving catch, only to have the ball pop out of his glove, enabling Walker to score.

Pickett stepped to the plate and sent one to the wall for a triple, clearing the bases and tying the score at 6-6. Jordan Strain hit a flyball that dropped between centerfielder Casey Adkins and rightfielder Jordan Gaphni, allowing Pickett to score the go-ahead run.

Strain later scored on a single by David Hull.

In the seventh, the All-Stars loaded the bases with one out as Daquisto, Adkins and Ian Powell reached base. Colby Morse came to the plate and sent a liner into right field, but Rice quickly snagged the hot shot and threw to first to double off Powell and end the game.

Gaphni said the team was disappointed in the loss, but they still took pride in going as far as they did through the early practices in January to the 40-50 games they played over the season.

“It was a great summer of baseball,” he said. “They raised their level of play at every level. They became good friends with all the travel they did. The parents jelled. It was a great experience.

“I’ve had conversation with some members and they were telling me that they missed the team being active.”

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